face mask on blue background

Mini-Fiction Monday (a day late): Deliver Me From This Pandemic Hell

by Cait Gordon

Genre: Realistic Fiction, CN: Eugenics, Ableism, Inaccessibility

“Humanity started with Eden, and now it seems we’re in hell.”

“What the heck to do you mean by that?” asks Ed.

Cherie slumps against the table, then holds a hand out to stroke the handle of her rollator. It’s smooth, comforting. This is a time for comfort. This hell. This hell that never seems to end. 

“I dunno. Never mind I said anything.” 

Her words are muffled by the soft woollen sweater she loves. Periwinkle blue. That colour is a stim for her eyes. It’s cool but happy. She’s tried to explain this to Ed. His usual comment: “You’re wearing that blue one again?”

“Listen,” he says now, “We’re outside. Finally. It’s what we both wanted, right?”

“I need to put my mask back on.”

“Why? It’s a big room and not many people around.”

Cherie wants so badly to bop Ed one. Violence apparently never solves anything. Whoever said that must have never been interacted with a clueless abled. She still loves Ed, though. She supposes. He wears her out sometimes with his failure to see things as they are. 

Wrapping her elbow around her face, Cherie bends over to the bag in her mobility device and grabs a white KN-95 mask. Her fingers are misbehaving today and tremble as she puts on the protective piece. 

Ed isn’t wearing his. He scowls at her. 

“Can’t we just do anything normal anymore?”

Cherie rolls her eyes. “Dude, what is normal to you and most other non-disabled or high risk folks is a right heap of crap for us. This pandemic has brought out the worst in people. All I’ve heard from government officials, medical professionals, and even members of my own family is that we need to live with this virus. Well, maybe they want to catch it several times and play Russian roulette with their immune systems, but I don’t. Do you have any idea how much I think in a day about my body? Like, even before 2020?”

Ed’s scowl is replaced by that confused expression again. The one he wears so often when she’s talking about her health. 

“I can’t leave the house without thinking how long we will be,” Cherie continues. “If I’ll need snacks in case hypoglycaemia comes to call. Or if it’s longer, do I pack a small lunch because of my food sensitivities. Then there are my legs. Will they be okay for a cane or should we bring the rollator in case there’s too much walking or standing? Should we bring the combo rollator-wheelchair in case my feet become a neuropathic symphony? Is the place where we’re going accessible at all to let me enter the joint, will the aisles be large enough to move around? Are there going to be searing lights and music that blasts bass into my sterum? That’s part of my normal!”

And then Ed does it. He sighs. 

“Okay, you know what?” says Cherie, carefully standing up, “You can go visit the sun. I’m out of here.”

“Whoa, whoa, I didn’t say anything!”

Cherie unfolds the black mobility device until the seat snaps in place. She unlocks the brakes and turns to leave. 

Ed puts a hand on each handle, over her hands. 

Fire fills her pupils. “Get. Your. Hands. Off. Her.”

He pulls them away as if burned by the flame decals on the chassis.

“Sorry, okay? I just don’t want you to go! We never get out anymore.”

She raises her index finger. “That’s not my fault. You always propose activities that might end in harm for me. Almost every time you suggest something, I need to add to my list of thinking for my body. It stresses me out to no end!”

“Then just stop thinking so much!”

Cherie laughs. It’s not a happy sound. On reflex, Ed takes a step back from her. 

“Spoken like someone who has never transitioned from a life before chronic illness and disability,” she says. “Someone who has never had to grieve who they were before they could accept and love their new self as they are. Who has to constantly live in a world that does nearly nothing to accommodate them. Don’t you think I wish I could move out of my front door and not have to prepare in advance for the constant possibility of inaccessibility? I would be a heckin’ lot more laid back if the support needs of folks like me were already woven into spaces!”

Ed sighs again, but this time it doesn’t set Cherie off again. 

“Yeah, I know,” he admits, “I don’t really get it. I only want us to be together and just… live.”

“I want that too,” says Cherie. “But I need you to take the protections I need seriously. I bet we could do a ton of things if we put our thinking caps on together.”

His eyes perk. 

“I could really use a thinking partner,” she adds. 

“Like someone who takes the pressure off you having to think by yourself?”


Ed smiles. The breeze from the open window fluffs up his brown swoopy bangs. He reaches into the right pocket of his dark jacket and pulls out a black KN-95 mask. 

“I might not be as knowledgeable as you,” he says, putting on the mask, “but I will do my best to help.”

Cherie grins under her mask, but it also shows in her blue-green eyes. “Sometimes I get exhausted from being an ‘educator’ about my criptastickness, but other times, it’s a time investment… for future happiness.”

“Well, I love you, okay? And I offer myself as a willing student. I hope you feel I’m worth the time, clueless wonder that I am.” He winks and reaches out a hand. “May I?”

She clasps it. 

“What do you want to do today?” Ed asks.

Cherie looks to the side as the wheels churn in her thoughts. Ed knows enough to be silent and patient when she does this. He sighs a third time, but happily, awaiting her reply. 

Deliver Me From This Pandemic Hell © 2023 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. This is a work of fiction from the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.

A greyscale close-up of me, standing in front of a blank background. I am a white woman with short silver hair cropped closely on the sides. I am wearing dark metallic rimmed glasses with rhinestones on the side. I’m wearing silver hook earrings with flat beads and a plaid shirt.

Cait Gordon is an autistic, disabled, and queer Canadian writer of speculative fiction that celebrates diversity. She is the author of Life in the ’CosmThe Stealth Lovers, and the forthcoming Iris and the Crew Tear Through Space (2023). Cait also founded the Spoonie Authors Network and joined Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the multi-genre disability fiction anthologies Nothing Without Us and Nothing Without Us Too. 

Featured photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

time lapse photo of stars on night

Book acceptance! A new crew is coming in 2023!

I did a teaser trailer about a cool thing that I announced yesterday!

THOSE WITH LIGHT SENSITIVITY: I didn’t have a problem with the flickering border under the text or brief flash of light near the end (I have light sensitivity myself and didn’t find it that intense), but here’s a warning that it starts right after I say, “Get ready for season one,” and the text briefly flashes out toward the screen for the next three panels. If you’re unsure, please do not watch this video.

There is a dramatic score in the background, and what appears to be a whirl of stars in space after the line, “The crew of a certain science vessel tears through space.” The video is mostly text flying onto the screen and there is an audio voice-over of the text.

This is the news: Iris and the Crew will tear through space in the Fall of 2023!

ID: Book advert by Cait Gordon. Aqua background. From left to right: Iris, a platinum-haired woman in a grey uniform with a sash, bending over an aqua robot. Her left hand is on the bot’s head and her right is holding a low-vision cane. Lartha is brown-skinned with half her head shaved, revealing a tattoo that says, “Just try it.” The other half of her head has flowing, wavy magenta locks. She’s wearing a black and grey uniform and aiming a large tubular weapon in front of her. She has two prosthetic limbs, and the left one is a glowing beacon with a short black boot. Davan is blue-skinned with pointed ears and a long trunk. He’s wearing a sleeves amber and grey uniform and waves to his right. Herb is pale skinned with brown and russet wavy hair in chunky layers, just hitting his shoulders. He’s in a baggy green mechanical uniform with pockets. Herb’s back is to us as he points to the tear while trying to get Davan’s attention. Text: Season One, Iris and the Crew Tear Through Space, by Cait Gordon, Coming in the Fall of 2023
(Just an advert. Not the cover.)

I’m so excited for you to meet this crew. I loved writing this first season, although world-building a space opera while inspired by the concept of Universal Design and the Social Model of Disability… during a eugenics-based pandemic on Earth… was… interesting. I found myself diving into Iris’s world just to escape this one. This series is my dream of what things might be like if a society became so accommodating and accessible, they wouldn’t understand the need to use identity-based language for disability. All bodyminds would be celebrated as part of everyday life. They would just… be.

The Iris and the Crew series follows the adventures of a science vessel crew on a massively accessible ship, the S.S. SpoonZ. They are a part of a galactic network known as the Keangal (key’angle), where inclusivity and supports are the norm. But not everyone is living in harmony within the Keangal—most notoriously so are the dreaded Piranha Brigade pirates whose creed is to do away with anyone they consider “weak.” And they’ve discovered a new enemy in Iris and the Crew…

I gobble up so many streaming series, I decided to make one myself, in book form! My hope is to have Blind, Deaf, neurodivergent, and disabled readers find themselves represented as major characters in this story! (I think there might be abled, NT members of that crew somewhere on the ship. I mean, it is inclusive after all.)

Anyway, squeeee!

My dashboard from Camp NaNoWriMo, announcing Iris and the Crew Tear Space a New One.

Camp NaNoWriMo? Sure.

My dashboard from Camp NaNoWriMo, announcing Iris and the Crew Tear Space a New One.
It’s the end of the world as I know it, but I’ll just write…

I tried NaNoWriMo 2019, but was just too exhausted. Now we’re in a pandemic, and I desperately need distraction, so why the heck not? Let’s see how many words I can put together for Iris and The Crew Tear Space a New One. My goal is for this to be a shorter work, maybe under 50 000 words in total. I’m trying something different this time—writing 13 standalone short stories called episodes. I thought it would be fun to pretend the book is a space opera series readers can binge!

Here’s my attempt at a blurb for my Camp NaNo dashboard:

Lieutenant Eileen Iris and the command crew of the S.S. Sp00nZ have no idea what it means to be disabled. That's not a metaphor—no one in their galaxy has ever applied that term to living beings before. So, when a startled intergalactic janitor calls them disabled but gets beamed back to NASA a bit too soon, they realize they might never get the answer to that particular question.

Unphased, duties resume as Iris tries to appease her overprotective guidebot Clarence; security Chief Lartha and her new sentient prosthetic legs offer kickass protection; Lieutenant Commander Herbert’s inventiveness is a treasured godsend (though he's not quite grasped how to flirt); science officer Commander Davan provides excellent counsel while signing his need for spicy hash browns, and Captain Warq's genteel but firm leadership keeps everyone at their best.

Until on one mission, where they tear space a new one. Just a little bit.

Putting my headspace into stories where disabled, blind, Deaf, and neurodiverse aliens are the stars of the show is just what I need now. As a human on Earth, I’m drained from eugenics-based grossness I’ve read from entitled ableds during this COVID-19 crisis. Time for me to dive in to a totally accommodating world where we can find ourselves represented in a command crew!

Will keep you posted on my progress!

Cait Gordon, in a black and white digital sketch

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.


Even Funny People Get Pissed Off

I like making people laugh—it’s my thing and has been ever since I was a little girl. It was an easy decision to make my “brand” about being a humorous weirdo because IT ME! Humour has always served me well, whether I’m weeping from laughter at comedies and comedians, coping with dire situations, or just trying to dole out giggles to those who need them. (The other day I was encouraging author S.M. Carrière to embrace her awesome by saying, “It’s not arrogance if it’s true!” She’s got such a hearty laugh, and it’s hard for me not to provoke it!)

Absurdist humour is my absolute fave because the more ridiculous a notion, the more it’ll make me howl. And when you merge absurdity with cheekiness, you get things like “wibbly wobbly timey wimey,” which is an ingenious way to dodge flawed scientific theories and give us a catchline that we adore. Thanks, Doctor Who!

Humour calms and deflects stress, too. When I thought I might have breast cancer at 32, I was petrified as I awaited the results. That was when my husband gave me a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. With trembling hands, I opened the book. Bet you could hear me laughing all the way into the main waiting room. The funny can be magic at times. And when years later, a beta reader told me they were in stitches at the hospital from reading Life in the ’Cosm, I felt I’d paid it forward.

The only problem with being known for the funny, is people might forget I’m also human and possess all the emotions. Sometimes I’m terribly blue, and other times I’m supremely pissed off. Lately, frustration and anger have been a thing. I blogged about what’s been bothering me in Calling for a Disbanding of Cliques and the Culture of Fear. Man, I hate reading about people being pushed around, harassed, and worse. The empathy goes to 11 from triggering my own stuff, then I just want to call out the crap and stand up for those who’ve come forward.

My social media posts haven’t been all sunshine and roses and silliness for a few weeks. I’m trying to get back there, even for my own mental health, but it’s been rough. The Canadian Speculative Fiction ‘cosm looks different to me now, and I’m trying really hard to find the pockets of people who are inclusive, welcoming, and encouraging folks. Because right now, my perception is that it’s a gaslighting mess. Hopefully, my opinion will change, as I have been seeing some people forming new reading series and cons. Perhaps other people will never see past their own privilege, but there will be those who do and who care.

So, anyway, I’m recovering from exhaustion these days. My number one priority is to get back to Regular Crappy Fibro levels. When my energy returns, I’ll continue writing in my favourite genre: Silly. I’m also trying to remember this has been a special year for me, publishing-wise: The Stealth Lovers, Nothing Without Us, and Space Opera Libretti (coming Dec 2019) actually happened! TSL is full of adventure and zaniness, NWU‘s authors also embrace The Snark at times, and my story (The Silken Eclipse) in Space Opera Libretti is pretty darned wacky. This is what I do, I live for humour and encourage it in others.

Just remember that sometimes I might be ticked. Even supremely ticked. But I’ll always come back to the laughter. It’s too much a part of who I am.

Now then, what do we do when wanting to battle against the ugly in this life? That’s right, we:


Cait Gordon, in a black and white digital sketch
Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.

Books being launched at this event. Their titles and location of the launch are in the body of this article.

The Ottawa Launch of The Stealth Lovers is Imminent!

Books being launched at this event. Their titles and location of the launch are in the body of this article.

Saturday, October 5, 4-6 p.m.

The 3 Brewers Pub, 240 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON

I have the great privilege of being one human amongst all these amazing writers for Renaissance’s Multi-Author Book Launch! It’ll also be the first time I’ll be reading from The Stealth Lovers!

Do come by and meet authors, buy books, get books signed, win prizes, and just have really good craic! (Craic is an Irish word that sounds like crack but it only means to have a good time. No crack involved whatsoever, but plenty of craic!)

The titles launched at this super fun event are:

  • Skylark, by S.M. Carrière
  • Everdome, by Éric Desmarais
  • Love and Lemonade, by Jamieson Wolf
  • A Congress of Ships, by Stephen Graham King
  • Run J Run, by Su Sokol
  • The Wayward Spider, by John Haas
  • and The Stealth Lovers, by lil’ ol’ me

I cannot believe the company I keep. So many talented people. I am truly humbled to be among them!

So, if you’re in Ottawa, stop on by! You can read more details on the Facebook event!

Hope to see you there!

Thanks to all my readers for your wonderful support!

Cait Gordon, in a black and white digital sketch

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (September 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (September 2019.)

LITC paperback

Why there’s going to be a second edition of Life in the ’Cosm

A totally unexpected thing happened to me a few years ago—I accidentally wrote a book. It was just supposed to be a creative writing exercise to take my mind off my chronic pain, and it turned into an epic tale with aliens, love, adventure, and dessert!

ID, book cover: Purple, blue, and teal nebulae behind a ringed planet. Hurtling through space is Splot, an alien resembling a fried egg. Text reads: Life in the ’Cosm, by Cait Gordon.
ID: Book cover of Life in the ’Cosm. Space background with ringed planet. A little alien shaped like a fried egg hurtles through the cosmos.

So much has happened in my life since May 2014, when I started writing this wacky tale. I was dealing with fibromyalgia, and it was getting increasingly worse. I watched my athletic activities dwindle to nothing, I couldn’t handle working even one day a week outside of the home, and my pain and fatigue were overwhelming. The worst part was I was going through it without being part of a disabled community. So, I considered myself #DisabledAndAlone, meaning, I had internalized ableism and used accidentally ableist language.

It came out in my writing.

Feedback on Life in the ’Cosm had been generally quite positive, for which I was grateful. Also, many readers loved Noola, who popped up in chapter three to my surprise and taught me how to deal with my own life. (I eventually got a mobility device and named it after her!)

Now, let’s fast forward to 2019. I am not only a disability advocate plugged into Disabled Culture, but I am also the co-editor of Nothing Without Us. This own-voices anthology stars protagonists who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or manage mental illness. Part of my role is to be a sensitivity editor for ableist terms that don’t have nuance in the stories. So, looking back at my first novel, I realized I really wanted to clear out flippantly-used ableist phrases.

In my first novel, my characters are flawed souls, so it won’t ever be perfect, but wow, did I correct a ton of uses. Yikes. But that’s okay! I also fixed other things that I was not aware of before, so it’s all good, too.

I’m extremely lucky that my publisher, Renaissance, is letting me do this. They really believe in representation, so that was such a pleasant surprise.

The goal is for the second edition to be released with the Kickstarter rewards for Nothing Without Us. My guess is it will be available online for purchase this fall. So, an updated Life in the ’Cosm and its prequel, The Stealth Lovers, should be released roughly the same time. Yay!

As usual, I will totally keep everyone posted!

And thanks to everyone who read ‘Cosm and told me they can’t wait to read the prequel because they love Xax and Viv so much. I think you’ll be happy with their origin story!

Cait Gordon
Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (Fall of 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (Fall of 2019.)